Comet Discoveries (online)

Presented by Terry Lovejoy

Comet discovery is one area in which amateur astronomers can still make important contributions to science. In recent decades such an endeavour is harder for the amateur because of the every increasing sophistication of professional surveys, but nonetheless gaps still exist that the amateur astronomer can exploit. By utilising fast optical systems and relatively inexpensive cameras amateurs can still be successful, even in suburban skies, provided you look in areas of the sky not covered by professional surveys. This session will be a chronology of Terry Lovejoy's comet finds, with a description of the different methods and equipment he used to find them.

Bio: Terry Lovejoy has had a passion for astronomy for as long as he can remember, and clearly recalls events such as the Pioneer 10 and 11 arrival at Jupiter (1973/4), as well as the Viking missions to Mars (1976). At the same time his father, owning a 60mm Unitron refractor, would sometimes setup the telescope to show the family the planets and eclipses. Around August 1977, Terry began using his own 60mm telescope to look at the sky and this was to start a life long interest in amateur astronomy.  Although he is interested in many aspects of astronomy, he became fascinated with comets from the stories his grandmother told of Comet Halley in 1910, and Comet Ikeya-Seki in 1965. Since seeing his first comet in 1981, Terry has seen just about every significantly bright or interesting comet since either visually or photographically. From 1999-2001 he found 11 small comets using online images available from the SOHO orbiting solar observatory. Then between 2004 and 2017 he turned his attention to finding comets from his own suburban home in Brisbane, a pursuit that resulted in the discovery of 6 new comets including the bright sungrazing comet of Christmas 2011. For his discoveries and work in amateur astronomy Terry has received many awards, including the honour of having an asteroid named after him (61342 Lovejoy).

This will be a live, interactive broadcast on YouTube. 

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Event info

Wednesday 05 Aug 2020

8:00 PM - 9:30 PM




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